Oparin’s legacy: The methodological breakthrough in the research of life’s origin

  • Ivano Mocavini Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technolo- gy (BIST)


Until recently, studying the origin of life was a purely speculative area of research. Indeed, it was not until 1953 that the Miller–Urey synthesis of amino acids in prebiotic-like conditions opened up the field to the experimental method. Herein, I argue that the theoretical bases of this turning point trace back to the work of the Russian biochemist A.I. Oparin (1894-1980). In his works, we can find fundamental innovations about the conception of origin, environment, and living entities, which later were instrumental for the introduction of the experimental method in the field.